Apple says it has no plans to add touchscreen functionality to its core Mac line, despite the company’s major competitors on the Windows side of the personal computer industry implementing the technology in devices years ago. Whether the stance is correct or not remains unclear, but Apple believes there is a clear division between its touchscreen devices that utilize iOS and its Mac line.
In fact, Microsoft’s Windows 10 has been built from the ground up with touchscreen technology in mind, with devices like the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 proving that swiping your computer screen is a viable and intuitive way of controlling your laptop.
Those eager to move beyond the new USB-C MacBook’s somewhat limited Touch Bar, can now purchase AirBar, a new, relatively affordable $99 (about $133 CAD) accessory that enabled touchscreen-like functionality on Mac devices.
The device emits an invisible light field that allows standard screens receive in put from hand gestures, though it’s unclear if the user actually needs to be touching the laptop’s screen. According to the company, AirBar plugs directly into the laptop via USB and transmits gestures via software commands. Gestures include swiping between windows and pinching and zooming.
Neonode, the makers of the AirBar, previously released a version of its touchscreen designed for 15.6-inch Windows devices. Now, the company behind the product is releasing a version of the device that’s compatible with the 13-inch MacBook Air, with shipping set for March.